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Technology & Privacy Issues: A Freshman Course At Pacific Lutheran University

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.544.1 - 3.544.7

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Paper Authors

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Richard Spillman

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2520

Technology & Privacy Issues: A Freshman Course at Pacific Lutheran University

Dr. Richard Spillman Pacific Lutheran University

Introduction Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) has developed a special freshman year program that includes two unique courses. One is a freshman writing seminar and the other, which is the focus of this paper, is a critical conversation course. All freshmen are required to select among the various writing seminars one semester and select one of the critical conversation courses the next semester. The critical conversation courses are designed to introduce PLU freshman to important topics in a manner that stimulates their critical thinking abilities. Freshman students may satisfy this requirement with courses such as:

Issues in Human Reproductive Technology TV: Visions and Values Health Beliefs Along the Pacific Rim Ethics in Psychology Gangs and Public Policy Privacy and Technology

Each semester, new classes are added to this list providing students with many different and interesting choices. The subject of this paper is the use of cryptography in the Privacy and Technology class.

Course Content The goal of the Privacy and Technology course is to provide students with an understanding of the importance of privacy and the impact of technology on their privacy rights. It is designed to address the irony of a society that at once promotes privacy yet embraces a technology that has the potential to violate privacy. At the beginning of the course, most students believe that privacy is a right that is totally guaranteed by the US Constitution. They feel secure and safe in their rights as US citizens. Very few suspect that computer technology might have any impact on their privacy rights. By the end of the course, these same students understand both the extent and the limits of their privacy rights. They have gained some insight into the vast amounts of personal data that have been and continue to be collected and stored in computer systems. Perhaps most importantly, they understand that “information is power” and, hence,

Spillman, R. (1998, June), Technology & Privacy Issues: A Freshman Course At Pacific Lutheran University Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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